Since its 1831 founding, Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge has been both a resting place for the good and great and a refuge for the living. Take the 71, 73, or 72 bus or bike or stroll a mile or so from Harvard Square to reach the Mount Auburn Street entrance. Once you pass through the Egyptian Revival gate, you’ll find yourself in another world: rolling hills, utter quiet punctuated by bird calls (the chalkboard inside the east alcove, just inside the gateway, has a list of recent sightings), plantings that brighten the landscape in any season, and of course the graves of famous Bostonians, from Longfellow to Buckminster Fuller.
Because it’s so vast -174 acres- I like to stop at the gateway to pick up one or two brochures to guide my visit. Whether you’re interested in a basic tour, Civil War officers’ graves, famous ornithologists, or key trees or plants, there’ll be a brochure with details and a suggested route, for a small donation. Or drop into the Visitor’s Center, where the staff will be happy to answer your questions. Once a destination is in mind, I wend my way there- being sure to stop at Washington Tower, which offers an amazing view of Boston from the top (take it slowly if you’re averse to heights!)
Even though it’s a gorgeous park, Mount Auburn remains a cemetery, so picnics, lying on the grass, and jogging aren’t permitted. All the more reason to get lunch or a snack at nearby Sofra.